FILM REVIEW - Soul
I have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing old films that I may have seen before. There’s a certain charm in returning to the memories of old films and then rewatching to see if it matches up with what you remember. That being said, I’ve been keen to start watching newer films that are garnering attention and also those that aren’t. When I heard about ‘Soul’ on Disney+ a part of me wasn’t interested, as I’m quickly losing interest in animated films, but when my entire family were reunited after a long time, we thought that an animated film was exactly the kind of movie we could all enjoy together.
‘Soul’ is the story of Joe Gardner, a high school music teacher who is finding it difficult to enjoy his job as a teacher, due to longstanding dreams of wanting to be a professional musician. After being offered a full-time post at the school, Joe is inches away from accepting this post, when out of the blue he gets a call from an old student who says that he may have a gig for him. Joe auditions and is accepted, his lifelong dream within his grasp. But life has a way and on his way home from the audition he falls into a manhole, only to find himself dead and on ‘the other side'. Annoyed, he’s adamant that he will find a way back and when he’s given the chance to mentor new souls before birth, he sees a plan to use their ‘Earth’ pass to come back. Luckily he’s paired with Soul 22, a young rambunctious soul that doesn’t want to go to Earth. Can the two of them help Joe to return before his amazing gig? And can Joe help 22 find a reason to start her life on Earth? Naturally, you’ll have to watch the film to find out!
With animated films, there’s almost a greater scope in terms of the actors that get a chance to be in films. On the flip side of that is the fact that it makes it a harder category for me to review and therefore it’s slightly superficial. Now in terms of the actors, Joe Gardner was played by the insanely talented Jamie Foxx. I really rate him as a performer that it almost made me sad that we didn’t get to hear him belt out a couple of smooth notes! Nevertheless, I thought he did a really good job and made the character extremely likeable. The same could be said for Soul 22 played by Tina Fey. Initially, you feel a little annoyed at 22, but as the film progresses, the character does really grow on you. The rest of the supporting cast also did a pretty good job at keeping me entertained. I have to shoutout Moonwind, played by English chat show host Graham Norton. As an avid fan of his show, it was awesome to see him entertaining in a different way!
I had absolutely no preconceptions about this film before I watched it, but I know that Disney and Pixar have been on a roll with making some pretty excellent movies. Okay, straight up I thought this was a phenomenally clever film. The concepts that it deals with are so complex and yet explained in such an endearing manner that even I couldn’t help but smile. Having lost several family members in the last few years, it almost filled me with this comfort that life after death is a peaceful and pleasant experience. It also teaches a lot of lessons to do with how we go about this life and what we can do in order to make the most of it. Much like ‘Inside Out’ and ‘Coco’ I’m finding that Pixar is now creating these intricate and deep films that I’m definitely going to show my children when I’m lucky enough to have them! I sincerely hope that Disney and Pixar continue on this path they’re on because I’m all here for it.
As always, the team of animators at these companies are experts in creating vivid landscapes and the most fantastical ideas. I thought the ‘souls’ were very cute and yet their expressions were still present. It is an intensely clever process and all kudos to these talented people. Music is at the heart of the film and the scenes with Joe playing the piano are exquisite. I can imagine the soundtrack of ‘Soul’ is quite good and I might have to give it a listen soon. Overall, for a film that had very little hype, half of which was courtesy of COVID, I thought ‘Soul’ was an excellent production and I would recommend it to everyone.
Voice Acting: 13/20